Photo: Jeff Cutler (Flickr)
Indiana emergency response teams are heading to the East Coast to help states deal with Hurricane Sandy and an overlapping severe weather system.
Forty-four vehicles, including 24 ambulances, and 107 Hoosiers will assist in New York, New Jersey and Maryland. State Department of Homeland Security director Joe Wainscott says Indiana began receiving requests for help Saturday. One of the units is already in Maryland. The others will arrive on the East Coast soon.
Wainscott says the bulk of the personnel are EMS providers.
“These are the same folks that, if you call 911 to your home, these are the same folks that are going to be responding, so although they’re just coming from different portions of the state, our goal is not to deplete any one area of their ability to take care of themselves while folks are gone,” he says.
Wainscott says the teams are expected to be deployed to the coast until November 11, although he says that could be shortened or lengthened depending on the severity of the crisis.
Indiana also received further requests for help Monday. Wainscott says the difficulty now is transporting people and equipment to the region. Flying has been ruled out and driving may be complicated by forecasted blizzards in the Appalachian Mountains.
Monroe County Deploys Volunteers
A number of Monroe County volunteers have also deployed to the East Coast to offer help to Hurricane Sandy victims.
Thomas Triplett traveled in one of several American Red Cross vehicles. It is the first time he has been deployed.
“Today we loaded up three emergency Red Cross vehicles with food, and we are just arriving into Philadelphia right now, all three vehicles are going to different shelters in Philadelphia, there are all high schools’, to unload the food and help out the shelters,” he says. “The conditions right now are windy, rainy, but not severe.”
Monroe County Red Cross Executive Director Sue Gulley says four volunteers in total were sent to the disaster area.
“The two who went to Pennsylvania actually were driving our emergency response vehicle, and so that’s vehicle loaded for, we can actually distribute cleaning supplies after disaster, comfort kids, mobile feeding, they can go into neighborhoods that were effected, so that’s a multi-purpose type vehicle,” Gulley says.
Indiana Homeland Security sent 107 volunteers and 25 trucks to the disaster area. Currently, teams are assigned to work separately in Maryland, New York and New Jersey, including answering 911 calls and helping evacuate hospitals and nursing homes.